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Why would a minor want to be emancipated?

It seems that as soon as a children become teenagers, they are testing independence and demanding to be treated like adults. For some teenagers, this may be a practical legal option. Minors who are in extenuated circumstances sometimes petition the court to become legally emancipated from their parents.

Emancipation can be a painful process--for minors and parents alike. If you are a parent, the choice may seem bewildering: Why would a child want to leave their home and try to make their own way in the world? In this post, we will examine some reasons why minors may seek emancipation.

Understanding emancipation

First, let's go over the definition of emancipation. Emancipation is a process in which a minor legally becomes an adult who is responsible for his or her own welfare. Upon emancipation, the minor is granted the rights, privileges and responsibilities of being an adult, although this excludes some activities like smoking, drinking and voting.

Reasons for emancipation

Minors who seek emancipation often do so for the increased autonomy over their own lives. Some examples include:

  • Signing legal binding documents
  • Entering into a business contract
  • Renting an apartment or leasing a car
  • Working a full-time job
  • Filing a lawsuit
  • Enrolling in a high-school, college or trade school of their choice
  • Applying for government benefits
  • Keeping their income
  • Making their own medical and healthcare decisions
  • Escaping an abusive home
  • Getting married

Factors for emancipation

A family court will consider many factors when issuing a decision on emancipation. These factors include the age of the minor, the home situation, the child's maturity, whether the minor will be able to support himself and whether emancipation is in the minor's best interests.  A parent with a child seeking emancipation may benefit from a consultation with an experienced Board-Certified Family Law expert attorney.

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